Cromer knocked off Premier summit after suffering their fourth defeat of season
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Cromer were knocked off top spot as a tight battle for the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division title took another twist on Saturday.
The lead has been changing hands on an almost weekly basis this season, and it happened again as the morning front-runners slipped to their fourth defeat of the campaign at an in-form Horsford A side.
That gave closest challengers Downham Town the opportunity to move clear and they took it with both hands by coming through a big test at Acle in the final over of an absorbing contest.
They now lead the way by 16 points, with Cromer now needing to bounce straight back when they welcome fourth placed Old Buckenham to the Norton Warnes Ground on Saturday (1pm).
Cromer were beaten by 52 runs at Manor Park by a side who are now 17 points above the drop zone, having looked like favourites for relegation at the beginning of the month.
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Matthew Wilkinson made 73 and Callum Melcalf an unbeaten 61 in a impressive 50-over total of 258-5, with Frankie Sutton, who took 2-36 from his full allocation of 10 overs, the pick of the visiting bowlers.
The total was too much for the visitors, who were dismissed for 206, after being 171-4 at one stage. Skipper Matthew Warnes was their top scorer with 78, with Richard Charlwood (32) and Rob Purton (22) also contribtuing to a solid start, while Kieron Peters took 4-29 for Horsford.
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Acle skipper Josh Rowe scored an unbeaten 57 and opener Geoff Handley 58 in a competitive total of 230-7 that pushed Downham to the limit. But they eventually edged home for the loss of six wickets, with Duncan Lanchester and Joss Stuart seeing them over the line after Addam Todd (53) and Harrison Gregory (51) had provided the platform.
One of the shortest matches ever seen at the Norton Warnes Ground took place on Saturday, with Cromer A needing just 18.3 overs to send Mattishall A packing in Division Five.
The 10-man visitors were bowled out for 42 in just 12 overs with only two bowlers used, James Craske taking 6-20 and Darren Payne 3-14.
Cromer then wrapped up the win inside seven overs for the loss of one wicket, Tom Jackson finishing unbeaten on 24.
Cromer seconds travel to Norwich to take on Old Catton on Saturday.